Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-93
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-2021-93

  19 Jul 2021

19 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal CP.

Continuous vegetation record of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (South Africa) covering the past 300 thousand years (IODP U1479)

Lydie M. Dupont1,a, Xueqin Zhao1,b, Chistopher Charles2, J. Tyler Faith3,4, and David Braun5,6 Lydie M. Dupont et al.
  • 1MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen. Leobener Str. 8, 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • 2The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
  • 3Natural History Museum of Utah, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA
  • 4Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
  • 5Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, George Washington University, Washington DC 20052, USA
  • 6Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • apresent address: Hendrik Werkmanstr. 5, 1061 VA Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • bpresent address: College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai, China

Abstract. The flora of the Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR) of South Africa is a biodiversity hotspot of global significance, and its archaeological record has contributed substantially to the understanding of modern human origins. For both reasons, the climate and vegetation history of south-western South Africa is of interest to numerous fields. Currently known paleo-environmental records cover the Holocene, the last glacial-interglacial transition and parts of the last glaciation but do not encompass a full glacial-interglacial cycle. To obtain a continuous vegetation record of the last Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles, we studied pollen, spores and micro-charcoal of deep-sea sediments from IODP Site U1479 retrieved from SW of Cape Town. We compare our palynological results of the Pleistocene with previously published results of Pliocene material from the same site. We find that the vegetation of the GCFR, in particular Fynbos and Afrotemperate forest, respond to precessional forcing of climate. The micro-charcoal record confirms the importance of fires in the Fynbos vegetation. Ericaceae-rich and Asteraceae-rich types of Fynbos could extend on the western part of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain (PAP), which emerged during periods of low sea-level of the Pleistocene.

Lydie M. Dupont et al.

Status: open (until 13 Sep 2021)

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Lydie M. Dupont et al.

Lydie M. Dupont et al.

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Short summary
We studied vegetation and climate of southwestern South Africa for the period of the past 300 thousand years. Vegetation and climate development of this region are interesting because the vegetation of the western Cape is a global biodiversity hotspot and because the archaeology of the region substantially contributed to the understanding of the origins of modern human. We found that the influence of precession variability on the vegetation and climate of southwestern South Africa is strong.